Some cases are truly stranger than fiction.
A Wisconsin girl who stabbed a classmate in order to please the fictional horror character Slender Man was sentenced to the maximum 40 years in a mental hospital on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.
Waukesha County Judge Michael Bohren, who delivered the sentence, said his decision was “an issue of community protection.”
The judge dismissed arguments by the defense that 15-year-old Morgan Geyser was only 12 at the time of the 2012 incident.
“What we can’t forget is this was an attempted murder,” Bohren said, and referred to Geyser as a “fragile person,” despite remarks from some doctors who said the girl’s mental condition has improved.
Geyser and another girl, Anissa Weier, admitted to luring schoolmate Payton Leutner into the woods near a Milwaukee park and then attacking her in 2012.
The girls said they did it so that Slender Man would not harm them or their families. According to investigators, Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times while Weier urged her on. Leutner was left for dead, but crawled out of the woods and received help from a passing bicyclist.
Weier was sentenced to 25 years in a mental hospital in December.
Before being sentenced, Geyser broke down in tears and apologized to Leutner. “I just want to let Bella and her family know that I’m sorry,” she said, using a nickname for the classmate.
Bohren told the court:
“When I put it all together, the 40-year commitment seems reasonable and fair, taking into account the unique circumstances of this case. So I’m gonna order that the commitment be for 40 years. It’s a long time.
“When I think and reflect on it, 40 years to a 15-year-old? What a long time that is. Yet there’s more to it than just Ms. Geyser. Our focus to some extent is on what her status is today. This is an issue of community protection.
“This is an issue to be sure there’s no recidivism. This is an issue to ensure that Ms. Geyser have a revolving door situation where she ends up being in the community and then things fall apart.”
“Really judge, it’s a miracle that Peyton is still with us, that she survived this,” said prosecutor Ted Szczupakiewicz.
A doctor presented by the defense claimed Geyser “is no more dangerous than any adolescent her age.”
The prosecutors showed testimony from a doctor who said the defendant still hears voices from someone she calls “Maggie.”
Dr. Brooke Lundbohm asserted Geyser remains a danger to others, saying “This is not a close call.”
In October, Geyser pleaded guilty to first-degree intentional homicide in a deal to avoid prison time. She has the right to seek condition release prior to the conclusion of the 40 years.